MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The shooting at Accent Signage Systems is the worst incidence of workplace violence in Minnesota since the state started keeping records 20 years ago.

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But almost 2 million people in the US experienced some kind of violence on the job last year, ranging from verbal threats to physical assault and murder.

And while it may seem as if we’re hearing more and more about workplace shootings, work violence is actually down from previous years.

Even so, the number of work murders is startling.

780 Americans died violently at work last year.

That includes 458 homicides, and 242 suicides.

Here in Minnesota, there were five violent deaths at work in 2011, including three homicides.

Since 1992: 95 workplace homicides, 68 by shooting.


40 percent of women who die at work are murdered – the number one cause of death for working women.

Many of these murders are caused by spouses or domestic partners, and many because they are sitting at the front desk.

Studies by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Labor reveal employees don’t typically just “snap”.

There are indicators of potentially violent behavior, which include:

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-Increased use of alcohol
-Unexplained absenteeism
-Outbursts of anger
-Overreaction to changes in company policy

And many other indicators of possible future behavior. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports some workers are more at risk than others:

-Delivery truck and taxi drivers
-Customer service agents
-Law enforcement officers
-Health care workers like psychiatric evaluators
– And those who work alone or in small groups

The Labor Department says situations in which employees put themselves at risk include jobs in which employees are exchanging money with the public; working with volatile, unstable people; working alone or in isolated areas; working where alcohol is served; and working late at night or in areas with high crime rates.

That’s Reality Check.

Here are some of the sources we used for this story:

What To Do Before, During, and After a Workplace Shooting

Workplace Violence FAQs

2011 US Workplace Fatalities 1

2011 US Workplace Fatalities 2

2011 US Workplace Fatalities 3

MN Fatal Workplace Injuries 1

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MN Fatal Workplace Injuries 2